Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Healthy writing on the menu at Massey

Healthy writing on the menu at Massey

When it comes to health, ‘we are what we read’ may be just as important as ‘we are what we eat,’ according to Massey University health writing specialist Dr Raquel Harper.

Consumers are increasingly bombarded with complex, and at times contradictory, information about health across multiple media on a daily basis – via the popular press and their own Google searches. And if our health status is linked to our health literacy, then the quality of the information we rely on to make decisions is crucial, she says.

From weighing up if the Paleo, or Caveman, diet is the ultimate path to good health; or how to reduce cholesterol, have more energy, keep fit, avoid cancer, diabetes, heart disease and dementia etcetera – the inexorable flow of facts can leave the average punter feeling perplexed and overwhelmed.

“There’s so much information out there now – it’s hard to know what’s credible and what’s not,” says Dr Harper, whose research spans West Nile Virus to the role of electronic cigarettes.

A new paper in health writing she is launching this year at the Albany campus aims to address health consumers’ knowledge gaps and confusion. It trains humanities and science students in how to evaluate health research so they can then identify the key findings. They also learn how to translate scientific jargon into succinct, clear language so that readers can easily comprehend the implications.

Dr Harper was born in New Zealand and has spent most of her life in Europe and the United States. She began her career with a degree in physiotherapy at Western Washington University, followed by a Master of Science in Technical Communication, and a doctoral degree in Public Communication and Technology, both at Colorado State University.

“I’m really interested in helping the public understand health and science information; and helping health and science scholars understand how to better communicate to the public,” she says. “I started out in physiotherapy, but realised that what I really enjoyed was researching and writing about different health and science topics.”

Dr Harper has recently published her research on the creation of a comprehensive health literacy assessment tool for measuring health literacy in young adults, and has investigated the social acceptability of electronic smokeless cigarettes. She has also written health and science articles for

several publications, including Biophotonics International and the National Cancer Institute.

A perfect way to marry her twin interests in science and writing, she says health writing “is still a niche area. But the demand for good science and health writers is growing as patients’ voices and choices expand.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news